So today I woke up late, around 10, and jumped in the shower, ready to go to the Open Streets festival with Jake*. I was going to bike down there myself but decided to wait for him to finish running and errand so we could go together.
At open streets we walked around mostly in silence, talking a bit. It felt a little irritating how nonchalant he seemed to be about most of it – or, as a more nuanced observation, not much seemed to ignite a sense of passion or interest in him. The vendors and the event didn’t seem to register very high on his radar of things he was interested in doing, nor would he have done those things on his own had I not dragged him there.
Okay, I might be projecting a bit here. And making assumptions. Regardless, though, his energy and interest levels seemed low, and as we walked back to my car after walking both stretches of road and stopping at a pizza joint for some food, I felt little more than mild disappointment, as if I’d driven us all the way downtown and dragged him along, just to walk around a bit and go back home.
When we got back to his place, he immediately collapsed onto the couch and fell asleep. I felt a little hurt, because instead of moving aside like he normally would, I had to try to squeeze in beside him. We slept for about an hour, until his roommate got home. Eventually I got up and said I was going to leave if he wanted to keep sleeping. He kept sleeping. I waited for at least 10 minutes, and he kept sleeping. So I left.
I felt sad. I felt a little upset. I felt frustrated by his tiredness. I felt anxious, because I wanted to talk to him about it – have an actual conversation about how I’ve been feeling less connected to him lately, and how I want to have more conversations with him and feel as though he has a vested interest in the things we do together, that he has a vested interest in me and my life, and that he wants to ask about it and talk about it with me. I wanted to tell him how I’ve been feeling a growing resentment toward his video game habit, which makes me feel guilty and sad because I know it’s something he finds great happiness in. I wanted to tell him that it’d be nice to feel like he gets as excited about me as he does about playing games. I wanted to talk to him about how I feel lonely sometimes, and how i get jealous of how many close friends he has, and how it made me a little sad to realize that the majority of the people who came out the other night to celebrate my birthday were his friends instead of mine. I wanted to tell him that I wanted to tell him these things.
But I sat silently and stared at him sleeping for a while, and felt sad by my inability to speak up for myself. I felt annoyed by my new habit of not wanting to put the burden of my emotions on anyone else at all, of not wanting to be a burden in any way, not wanting to be seen as pushy or needy or controlling.
I was offered a drink twice by his roommate, who doesn’t know that I’ve stopped drinking. Nobody really does. I don’t even think Jake fully comprehends it, even though I mentioned it on Friday night. I haven’t told anyone else yet because I don’t know how. So, I turned the drinks down gracefully and after staring at my sleeping, unaware boyfriend for a while, I decided to leave. He got up for that and kissed me goodbye, then walked to his room, presumably to sleep again.
And as I drove home I cried a little bit because I had things to say that were ready to burst out of my chest, but I let them fizzle and cause a slow burn and it hurt. It hurt because I felt lonely in my wants and needs, and because I couldn’t find the words to just tell my boyfriend how I felt. And so he, completely unaware, didn’t know that I was crying on my way home.
And even as I wanted to drink, I knew I wasn’t going to do so today. Not today. Instead, I went for an hour-long walk, then went and got a quesadilla with beans & rice and are the whole thing, as well as two chocolate cookies. I just wanted to shove it all in my mouth and then disappear into my room where I knew my step-mom wouldn’t offer me a glass of wine.
I recognized in myself the strong urge to just wish the world away.
It kind of pisses me off that I was born such a sensitive individual, who has literally never known true, wholesome satisfaction with herself or her life. There’s always something I want differently. I’ve turned away partners who were madly in love with me because I felt smothered, and I feel myself turning away from Jake because he gives me more space than I know what to do with.
And I’m stubborn enough to stop myself from reaching out for help because I don’t want to burden others with my shitty problems. I want to be the sane one, who can handle herself. At least, that’s how I want to appear. But in the process, I’ve turned away people who would’ve given anything to help me carry some of my burdens. I’ve failed to make meaningful, lasting connections.
I don’t reach out for support from others to help me in sobriety because I’m afraid of failing, I’m afraid of their questioning and criticisms, I’m afraid they’ll think I have a problem. I’m afraid of having a problem, and yet, I’m even more afraid of facing it alone.
As such, I’ve developed this really annoying habit of wanting to run away when shit gets a little tough. Not just from people, either, but from jobs, from living situations, from relationships, from myself. If I could take a year to travel aimlessly without having to worry about money, I’d drop everything tomorrow and go. I’d leave. I’d take a week in each state of the United States and leave all but my clothes and computer behind.
But doing that wouldn’t solve the problems I have with staying put in one place. I literally have one of the best living situations possible right now – living with my dad and step-mom rent free while I go to school – and I want to leave because of how it makes me feel about my status as a single, divorced woman. Forget the fact that I work full-time, study full-time, and have an active dating/social life. The fact that I live at home makes me feel like some sort of failure, which I know is ridiculous. I am so privileged and lucky and am paving the way to something great for myself in the next few years, but all I’m worried about right now is whether or not I’m cool enough, since I live at home in the suburbs, instead of on my own out in the city, and that makes me feel like an asshole.
And maybe I am an asshole. All of these weepy problems I have are solvable in a variety of different ways. There is no reason I can’t confront Jake about my feelings about our relationship, or take the initiative to make new friends, or stop telling myself I’m a failure and start recognizing all the things I’m doing with my life right now.
And on top of it all, I’m attempting to stay sober. I’ve succeeded so far, for almost two days. So, I mean, that’s a good start. Why do I have to be so hard on myself?
*names changed for anonymity